Monday 12 April 2021
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Bleak future for medical graduates

Graduates from an array of health professions who studied abroad cannot get jobs because they either did not sit for their medical board examinations or have not been issued with practising licences.
As a result, many of the graduates are sitting at home unhappy and unaware if their medical qualifications will ever amount to anything as the Health Professions Councils of Namibia(HPCNA) is yet to appoint a council to carry out the procedure.
Speaking under anonymity, a graduate who has been studying in China told The Patriot that when many of them returned home from their various institutions, they were asked to hand in their qualifications as required by the HPCNA.
“We are not allowed to practise yet because we have to wait for the medical board exam before we start practising which is the normal procedure as is in other countries. It is however unfortunate that they have not yet set a date for the board examination because there is no council and no date as to when a council will be appointed has been communicated to us”.
Another dental graduate who also shares a similar predicament, revealed that she has been sitting at home for almost 10 months, waiting for the council to issue her and others licences that will allow them to practise.
“It’s been so long, I have written my board exam which I passed but I am yet to get any placement to practise. I am unemployed and am left to wonder if I will ever get the chance to practise.
I for one feel bad because they know a lot of students are graduating but yet they are not doing anything to properly prepare. It is only now that we are back home that they are running around trying to prepare and evaluate us. I am just tired of waiting” she noted in distress.
HPCNA Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, Cornelius Weyulu told this publication that those waiting to write the exam will still have to wait as no date has been set yet. There is no Medical or Dental Council in place.
He noted that the evaluation which will allow these graduates to practise is to be conducted by the Council and therefore the date for such evaluation can only be set once the Council is in place.
“Once the date is determined, it will be communicated to those who submitted their applications and to those who qualified to be evaluated. Those who do not meet the requirements to be evaluated will be informed accordingly” he said.
Weyulu could not comment on when a Council will be appointed as that is the responsibility of the Minister of Health and Social Services and not of the HPCNA.
He further explained that the said graduates were made aware that there is currently no Council and thus no determination can be made on the status of their applications until such a time the Council is established.
“They have submitted their contact details to us with the applications and they will be the first to know once the decision on their applications has been made” he noted.
Weyulu further explained that graduates who find themselves sitting at home having to wait for medical internship should note that the internship is pre-scheduled and does not start just any time of the year.
“As per the arrangement with Ministry of Health and Social Services, which employ and train medical interns, the next intake for internship is January 2019.
That means, even if the waiting medical graduates were to take Council evaluation this year, those who pass will still have to wait for next year to commence with internship” he said.
However graduates retorted that they are aware of such arrangements, but fear if applications are not handled timeously, they may end up spending yet another year at home because of the pre-scheduled intake only in January.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku highlighted that the Ministry has decided to appoint a council before the end of September but could  not give it complete approval as he notes that there is a high possibility that he may find himself out of the country at the end of September.

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